New York College To Open OSDL Linux Research Site

New York’s Marist College has joined Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) and will offer mainframe data-center computing resources — through OSDL — for Linux developers. The new center is one of only three OSDL-affiliated research facilities in the world. The other OSDL labs are located in Beaverton, Oregon, and Yokohama, Japan.

Marist is the first college or university to become an affiliate member of OSDL through a newly established college and university affiliate program.

The Open Source Development Lab is home to Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, and is dedicated to accelerating the growth and adoption of Linux in the enterprise. Founded in 2000 by Computer Associates, HP, Hitachi, IBM, Intel and NEC, OSDL is a nonprofit, vendor-neutral organization that sponsors Linux initiatives targeting telecommunications and corporate desktop markets.

The Lab also makes state-of-the-art computing and test facilities in the United States and Japan available to developers around the world.

“Higher education is gravitating to Linux for a number of reasons, and Marist is one of the earliest to do so,” said Stuart Cohen, OSDL’s CEO. “As our first higher-education member, Marist College will give OSDL insight into how colleges and universities use Linux today, and also a better appreciation for how it’s being incorporated into computer science curricula.”

Remote Access to Mainframe

Through Marist College, Linux developers will gain remote access to a mainframe system to run qualified projects and test Linux software. Enabling a community of users to develop and test Linux on the mainframe should help improve Linux as an enterprise operating system while building a pool of skilled developers for industry and education.

“Marist’s designation as an OSDL lab is an important strategic move in support of further innovation, research and competitiveness in open source development,” said college president Dennis J. Murray, a supporter of the Linux movement. “The lab, driven by IBM’s powerful zSeries 990 server, will allow Marist to work with businesses, government agencies, and other universities and research centers to help develop a skilled workforce and products that will spur economic growth and enhance America’s competitive edge.”

Marist College will make available through OSDL an IBM eServer zSeries 990 (z990) server to support development of Linux applications and skills on the mainframe. OSDL will begin accepting mainframe project requests in the summer of 2004.

Projects intended for testing on the Marist mainframe equipment will be accepted, evaluated and approved by OSDL according to its existing project submission process.

International Reputation

Marist was an early adopter of Linux technology and has an international reputation as a leader in development of open-source software. The college opened its Linux Research and Development lab in 2001. Marist was among the first locations to serve Linux on an IBM S/390 mainframe and configure Linux on the mainframe to provide virtual servers to its students.

“This is a great opportunity for Marist College, and in particular the school of computer science and mathematics,” said Dr. Roger Norton, the school’s dean. “Linux is the future, and our school has been at the forefront in bringing Linux into our curriculum and research activities, especially as related to exploiting the power of our zSeries computer to create virtual Linux servers and environments.”

This relationship with OSDL, said Norton, “will further solidify our commitment to Linux and provide additional opportunities for our students to work on Linux and open-source projects.”

Flagship Server, Flagship College

The IBM eServer zSeries 990 is the corporation’s flagship server and one of the technology’s most powerful mainframes. Introduced in May 2003, it is geared toward large business and government customers for data processing, bank transactions and secure Web sales, among other uses.

“The z990 with z/VM has superior virtualization over any platform we’ve tested,” said Harry Williams, Marist’s director of technology and systems. “We’ve deployed hundreds of virtual Linux servers, but now with the z990 running z/VM, we’ll be able to test and deploy thousands of virtual Linux servers, all centrally managed, while controlling our environmental, infrastructure and personnel costs. This box is a techie’s dream.”

Marist is a liberal arts college located on the eastern shore of the Hudson River, halfway between New York City and Albany. Marist is included in The Princeton Review’s guide of the top colleges and universities in the United States. Yahoo Internet Life magazine also named Marist one of “The 100 Most Wired Campuses” in America.

The college has an enrollment of approximately 4,000 full-time undergraduates and an additional 2,000 adult students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees.

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